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Viviane Reding, the EU telecoms commissioner, has been proposing a new approach to FTTH regulatory matters which would trade-off the need to safeguard competition with the need to galvanise investment sentiment. However, in statements made this week at the annual ECTA conference on regulation, she again rejected the notion of regulatory restraint.
"I believe that the best way for encouraging long-term investment is to establish a priori a number of principles that national regulators should take into account when regulating access prices with regard to next generation access networks,” said Ms. Reding. “In my personal view, these should include a risk premium of around 15%."
"Regulatory restraint as a carte blanche for incumbents to re-monopolise markets where the buds of competition are flourishing is not a policy option," added Ms Reding. Instead, she believes clear regulatory guidance should apply across Europe in order to stamp out uncertainty: "It is regrettable that, so far, the European Regulators' Group has not managed to agree on a consistent approach that would allow for fair competition on Europe's single market as far as next-generation networks are concerned," she continued.
Ms Reding cited FTTH Council Europe research illustrating that 47% of European FTTH subscribers are served by alternative operators and municipalities to demonstrate that “currently, the incumbents are laggards in FTTH deployment in Europe”. This “may change in future, or may not” she warned.
The Commission is expected to submit its new regulatory framework to public consultation before the summer.
*These comments do not necessarily reflect the views of the FTTH Council Europe.